We had planned all along that this very first blog post on our brand new shiny (Oye! Mind the paintwork!) WordPress website would be a big “HELLO” and a rambling piece on how long it’s taken to migrate the site from the original hand-coded effort and how much better it is, how much better it will become and all the important improvements. On reflection, however, it would be a very dull first post of no interest to anybody. So we’ve decided to post about something that’s bright and cheerful … (except this year) … and that bright and cheerful thing is the Eurovision Song Contest 2020
Of the many casualties and event cancellations of 2020 due to Covid-19, the one that particularly upset us was the the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. It was due to be held in Rotterdam (Netherlands) thanks to their Duncan Laurence being voted the winner in 2019 with the song ‘Arcade’. It would have been the first time in over 40 years that the Netherlands had hosted the show but unfortunately for them this is the first time in Eurovision Song Contest history that the event has been cancelled; one saving grace however is that the Netherlands will host it in 2021. Sadly for the contestants who were due to perform this year, they are not allowed to perform the same song next year if they were to represent their country again although they are allowed to return in 2021 with a different song. This is a massive shame as there were plenty of great songs this year which we would have loved to have seen performed to the world from the Eurovision Song Contest stage and voted for by the panels and the public.
So – yes – we were very sad by the show being cancelled but instead of getting too down in the dumps about it we decided to host our own voting sessions to produce our own Top 10 for Eurovision 2020. Our final results took into account many factors including opinion polls, betting sites and general ‘internet chatter’ along with our own personal opinions and preferences. We also remained unbiased which is evidenced by the fact that the UK entry (My Last Breath by James Newman) does not appear in our Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Top 10 even though we rank it higher than many of the UK’s previous entries.
Anyway. Enough said. Here’s our Top 10 for Eurovision 2020 …
10: Ben Dolic – Violent Thing (Germany)
We’ll admit, we were quite surprised that this was a regular appearance on a lot of Top 10 lists that we found. Not because we dislike the song, but because we felt the Eurovision community might find this song a bit ‘mainstream’ … but stranger things have happened on Eurovision. We also thought this song felt like he was the guest vocalist for a well-known DJ (e.g. David Guetta or Marshmello), which was one of the reasons we haven’t voted it higher on the list. Dolic is actually from Slovenia and once tried to represent Slovenia in Eurovision as part of a band called ‘D Base’ but unfortunately they didn’t get past the Slovenian national voting process. He gained popularity in Germany after coming second on the German version of ‘The Voice’ in 2018. We can’t predict if he will represent Germany again in 2021 but he stands a good chance if his next song choice is as good as ‘Violent Thing’.
9: Diodato – Fai Rumore (Italy)
If there was ever a song that would end up in the Top Ten (or maybe even Top Five) it would be this one. The Eurovision juries seem to love an over-dramatic singing Italian, and this is exactly that type of song! The reason why this isn’t higher on our list is that – while we appreciated that this was a strong song with a great voice – we weren’t especially won over by it. While Diodato (full name – Antonio Diodato) seems to be fairly successful in his own country, he isn’t well known outside of Italy but we’re sure this song will earn him some international fans. Like Dolic, we don’t know yet if he will represent Italy again in 2021 but he’s definitely one to watch in the future.
8: Go_A – Solovey (Ukraine)
This is maybe an unusual choice because it wasn’t a critical favourite but this is a song that we have a personal soft spot for; it’s different with an interesting modern take on a folk-sounding song. It’s also sung in Ukrainian which is the first time in Eurovision that a song has been entirely in Ukrainian. Even though the main singer isn’t an especially strong live performer, we can imagine it doing well on the night and becoming an outside favourite. The members of ‘electro-folk’ band Go_A consist of Kateryna Pavlenko, Ihor Didenchuk, Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Hryhoriak and the band’s name means ‘return to the roots’ as it takes from the English word ‘Go’ and the greek symbol for Alpha which symbolises the beginning of everything. It has been confirmed that they will represent Ukraine again in 2021 and whilst this may be the highest that their 2020 entry has appeared on any Top 10 list of predictions we personally feel that it deserves more credit.
7: Victoria – Tears Getting Sober (Bulgaria)
This song was positioned at the top of many Eurovision 2020 polls and the general feeling among the public and critics was that this song was a potential winner. While this is certainly a nice song, compared to the ones that appear later on this list it was a little bit underwhelming … although it has a weird, dark, ‘Disney’ song feel to it that might be it’s secret weapon by evoking nostalgic feelings. Victoria (full name – Victoria Georgieva) eventually got her break after auditioning for the Bulgarian version of X Factor several times and not getting far (possibly because she was only 14 so she was technically underage) before finally making it to Week 9 of the live shows in 2015. It has been confirmed that she will represent Bulgaria again in 2021 and we’re sure that she will be a favourite for a second time … we just hope that the next song is a little more interesting …
6: Roxen – Alcohol You (Romania)
While Victoria’s song was nice, we feel that this one was the better of the two. They’re similar but this one has a more haunting quality which we liked and we also think that the more serious tone of the song would have given it a good chance in the 2020 Final. Roxen (real name – Larisa Roxana Giurgiu) is probably best known outside of Eurovision 2020 for being the featured singer on Romanian producer Sickotoy’s song ‘You Don’t Love Me’ which was a Top 10 hit in Europe and also did well in America. It is confirmed that she will represent Romania again in 2021.
5: Little Big – Uno (Russia)
Every year Eurovision is blessed with a ‘novelty song’ … and Uno is definitely it for Eurovision 2020. This is a really fun song with a unique look and dance, something that a lot of the top predicted acts this year have. We think the song would have scored very highly in the public vote and would have appeared somewhere in the Top 5 but unlikely to be the winner. The rave band Little Big currently consists of Ilya “Ilich” Prusikin, Sonya Tayurskaya, Anton “Boo” Lissov and Sergey “Gokk” Makarov. They are very well known in Russia and internationally have gained a reputation for their weird songs and videos. Perhaps their biggest hit is their song ‘Skibidi’ which created a viral dance challenge worldwide. The music video for Uno and their live performance also featured two other well-known Russian musicians, Yuriy Muzychenko from The Hatters and Florida Chanturia from Leningrad. We really hope they’ll be representing Russia again next year.
4: The Mamas – Move (Sweden)
It may be cliche at this point to always put Sweden in the Top 10 but, while some of the songs that they have put out have been rather average, you can’t make that statement about this one. This is probably the most uplifting song of the entire competition and you can tell from their voices and movements that they are extremely passionate about what they do. The Swedish-American R&B and Gospel Pop Group The Mamas currently consist of Ashley Haynes, Loulou Lamotte and Dinah Yonas Manna. You might remember them for being the backing singers for last year’s Swedish entrant John Lundvik (‘Too Late For Love’). It currently hasn’t been confirmed that they will represent Sweden again in 2021 but we would love to see what else they have up their sleeve.
3: Gjon’s Tears – Répondez-moi (Switzerland)
If we had to pick an act likely to be at the top of the Jury results, it would be this one. It feels more intense than a standard ballad and the sombre tone adds to what makes this song work so well. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a song sung in a language other than English do well! Gjon’s Tears (real name – Gjon Muharremaj) is from Kosovar-Albanian descent and once came third on ‘Albania’s Got Talent’ at the age of 12 in 2011. He later took part in the French version of ‘The Voice’ in 2019 but only reached the semi-finals. It has been confirmed that he will represent Switzerland again in 2021.
2: Daði og Gagnamagnið – Think About Things (Iceland)
It was very difficult to decide whether this should be second place or first place. In the end it came down to the fact that, while the public would love it, we weren’t sure if the juries would agree as much. That being said, this song absolutely deserved to be a winner. It has a quirky ‘nerd aesthetic’ complete with coordinated jumpers with pixel head graphics (which reminded us of the opening sequence to The I.T. Crowd) as well as a fun, minimal dance routine. The main singer is Daði Freyr Pétursson who had previously tried to be the Icelandic representative in 2017 but unfortunately didn’t get past their national selection process. Their performance is actually a proper ‘family affair’ with his sister as one of the backing singers, his wife as one of the dancers and the others being his friends. His song, on further inspection, is actually about his baby daughter which is adorable. We don’t know officially whether they will represent Iceland again in 2021 although we have seen some articles claiming that they won’t return. Sad if true!
1: The Roop – On Fire (Lithuania)
Not only do we believe that this would get a high score from both the juries and the public but we also think that this song would have been a worthy winner. It has a memorable rhythm and, like a lot of the other high scoring predicted acts, has a fun, weird dance to go with it. It may still feel like a safe winner for some, but at least it’s fun and stylised. The members of pop-rock band The Loop consist of Vaidotas Valiukevičius, Robertas Baranauskas, and Mantas Banišauskas. While they are fairly well known in their home country, they don’t seem to be as internationally recognised but we’re sure that this entry has given them a lot of attention now from across Europe.
So, in conclusion, it is a massive shame that Iceland and Lithuania didn’t get the opportunity to perform (particularly because neither have previously won the Eurovision Song Contest) because their entries for 2020 were absolutely fantastic. Let’s hope that their entries for 2021 are just as strong.